I've procrastinated writing a review of one of the most comfortable pair of trainers I've ever owned, and the best pair of Altra's I have run in: the Torin 2.5. It's good I'm getting around to writing this review now, since the 3.0 is expected to be released in the next couple of months - long enough to get a lifecycle out of a pair purchased today.
The Torin 2.5 is a good daily trainer kind of shoe. It's relatively light and relatively cushioned - for my taste, just about right. I would be happy to wear them for a trail ultra if grip wasn't too big an issue, and would definitely wear them for a marathon or half. I have worn them for shorter distances - 10Ks and 5Ks -- but they have drawbacks at those races. The foam is not very springy - it's relatively dead - so you really don't get the kind of energy return bounce you are looking for in those quicker races. The ultimate upgrade for the Torin would be to use the EGO foam in the new Escalantes - it would allow this shoe to excel at the quicker stufff.
The shoe is pretty ugly looking. Altra is doing better in making the foot shaped shoe look less like a clown shoe and more like a regular running shoe. They've done a great job with their latest versions of shoes like the Instinct, Lone Peak and Escalante on the design front. Hopefully the Torin 3.0 looks a little more socially acceptable! (The black/red version is the better looking colorway, better than the blue/yellow, below)
Now, picking it apart in detail...
The upper: I love the construction on this shoe. Most of it is some sort of nylon material with varying degrees over plastic overlays. Some think it is too tight and not breathable enough, but it is great for me. I get enough support that my feet aren't sliding around, but I don't find it overly hot (and I do get pretty warm in the feet during my runs). There's a little bit of mesh on the upper that perhaps provides some ventilation. Maybe I'll be singing a different tune during the summer, but I haven't had a problem. More support than the Instinct 4.0 here, which feels too loose to me. The shoe laces up very well - not hot spots or puckering like I saw on the Instincts current and past.
The midsole: Absolute comfort. I don't find it too mushy or too hard - it is just right. My foot, which on the right has suffered from vague and annoying pain due to either too much or too little cush over the last couple of years - is happy and pain free. My feet don't feel "tired" at all - they've nailed it here. For comparison, it is significantly firmer the Escalante, slightly firmer than the Lone Peak 3.0, softer than the Instinct.
The outsole: The weakest part of the shoe. I suffered excessive wear on the outside heels of both shoes. Yes, I tend to do my share of heel striking but land midfoot most of the time. I had to retire my shoes at around 150 miles because the black rubber was totally gone. Hopefully this was unusual wear, based on running on some rougher surface. But still, it doesn't look like this is a shoe that will have much life after 200 miles. Altra has consistently had quality issues like this, but is making progress. Hopefully the Torin 3.0 addresses this problem